How many of the faithful have really read the bible. Catholics do not teach their followers anything about it. The only thing they learn is the Catechism and nothing more except what the leaders of the Church want them to know. Protestants learn from early ages in Sunday School and later on in bible classes if they so want. But even then they are guided by the pastors, ministers and elders of the church who are sometimes completely uninformed, themselves, about the more vile and irrational parts. In many instances if the learner does accidentally stumble upon these violent, cruel, ridiculous, fairytale type of stories and reality kicks in their brain they will possibly fade away from their religious beliefs. But that does not happen often because people stay believers even with these irrational facts hitting them squarely in the face.
How can someone with a normal thought process read about an invisible supernatural being creating the world in six days, a talking snake, a woman who turns into a pillar of salt, a man who lives inside a big fish and people who become alive after being dead? Why do people talk to this invisible entity and never hear a word back but still do it for their whole lives? Why do they, after so many times, ask this entity, who no one has ever seen or heard, for something important like saving the life of a loved one that eventually dies shortly thereafter without a pause in the progress of their demise. How does this happen to so many people?
What are your ideas about this? You at this site are the most wise in these matters, so can you join in? I am calling this THE FAITHFUL AND THE BIBLE I. In a few days I will put out THE FAITHFUL AND THE BIBLE II that will be my ideas on how and why this situation exists. Not that my ideas will be correct, but I will be interested in seeing your ideas and see if some of you have the same reasons for this phenomenon that I do.
Catholics do not teach their followers anything about it. The only thing they learn is the Catechism and nothing more except what the leaders of the Church want them to know.
Very few Catholics read the Catechism, yet Catholic masses work through most of the Bible over a carefully specified three year period.
It's this sort of erroneous claim and lack of understanding that compromises the accuracy of other claims and ideas. So, for example, Jews and Christians are perfectly willing to read contextually or reinterpret portions of the Bible where a literal reading is untenable, or a historical/cultural value needs to be adjusted for modern life. Some atheists here seem to be the only true fundamental literalists. Of course a lot depends on the level of education of the respective believer (or unbeliever).
Why are people believers? I think it's because we find believing to be a useful framework within which to conduct our lives, and with which to build communities. Don't get too hung up on the details of the stories. Stories are how most cultures frame and pass along cultural understandings and traditions. The test of a biblical story is not objective truthfulness in the scientific sense, it's whether that story is successful in conveying an underlying sociocultural principle or idea.
So, for example, the story of Lot's wife being turned into a pillar of salt is not about the pillar of salt. It's about the inability of Lot's wife to let go of past wealth, relationships, and privilege when that is called for.
Dr. Bob, I have seen your comments before and respect your thoughts and knowledge, but you say that the bible is a “useful framework within which to conduct our lives, and with which to build communities.”? Just out of curiosity how are these parts of the bible good examples of morality to guide one's life?
God kills every one, except the family of Noah, on the planet and then makes a commandment, “Thou shall not kill.”
Deuteronomy7:15: “And the LORD will protect you from all sickness. He will not let you suffer from the terrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all your enemies!”
Jeremiah 20:7: Jeremiah said that God deceived him, His own prophet.
Ezekiel 14:9: Here God declares that he not only deceives his own prophets, he also kills them.
“The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.”
[Exodus 15:3] “Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.”
[Exodus 22:20]“My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.”
[Exodus 22:24]“Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people.”
[Exodus 31:14] Practically all of Leviticus concerns the slaughtering of goats, sheep, cattle, turtledoves and pigeons sprinkling the blood over objects cutting the bodies up into pieces and burning them because God likes the smell of it.
“Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” [Leviticus 10:1-2]
Stories were how most cultures passed along cultural understandings and traditions. I think intelligent people grow out of that. In this age of science and rational these are stories that will go the way of the Norse, Roman, Greek and all the other gods of days gone by. I agree that the biblical stories are not objective truthfulness, but also not successful in conveying an underlying sociocultural principle or idea. These are examples:
“And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.”
Moses meets God who is disguised as a burning bush.
Defying the law of nature the sun and moon stood still in the sky so Joshua could destroy the Amorites.
Samson slew 1000 of the enemy with a jawbone of an ass.
2 Kings 6:5-7: An iron ax head swims or floats on water.
Job 9:7: God commanded the sun not to rise and sealed the stars in the sky.
Ezekiel 37:1-10: Dry bones of many came together, flesh and skin attached itself; they became alive and formed an army.
you say that the bible is a “useful framework within which to conduct our lives, and with which to build communities.”?
I'm sorry, @Stephen, perhaps I wasn't clear.
What I actually said that believers find believing (religion, theism, etc.) a useful framework within which to conduct our lives and with which to build communities. You changed that to the bible being the framework, which fundamentally changed the meaning. That isn't the way most of us approach things.
Most of us theists aren't biblical fundamentalists, and even many biblical fundamentalists don't read the bible in quite the same way that you seem to think they do.
If your argument is with the mindless version of fundamentalism, though, I generally agree with you. I'm relatively sure, however, that your arguments won't be persuasive to them. That's because while a literal reading of the bible may be a part of their faith, it's not why they believe.